Fellow Malawians, Today, I officially opened this year’s Tobacco Marketing season. I’m very delighted that we will have good quality tobacco and in sizeable volumes compared to what was available last season. We all are aware of how important tobacco is to the economy of our country. Apart from contributing greatly to the country’s foreign exchange earnings, it is also important in the socio-economic well-being and food security of our nation.
My Government is therefore promoting tobacco production and marketing as a crop of strategic importance so that our farmers in the rural areas are economically empowered. Malawian growers should therefore be assured of a future in tobacco growing and marketing. We have set minimum prices to ensure that the farmer gets a fair reward for their labour. I am also aware that these agreed prices are aiming at protecting the farmer from exploitation.
My understanding is that these minimum prices will be higher than the protected prices. I will be monitoring the selling floors closely to ensure the implementation of this arrangement. I am informed that tobacco volumes this year are in line with demand (trade requirements) and that the quality is generally good. It is my prayer that farmers have a sustainable return on their tobacco.
These farmers deserve better prices for them to re-invest in the tobacco enterprise this coming season. My Government will work closely with the tobacco buyers to make sure that they offer reasonable prices to the farmers.
God bless you all.